CMLP and Cyberlaw Clinic Urge Broad Reading of the Massachusetts Anti-SLAPP Statute
The Citizen Media Law Project, together with the Online News Association, Media Bloggers Association, New England Press Association, and Globe Newspaper Company, publisher of The Boston Globe and Boston.com, this week urged a broad reading of Massachusetts' anti-SLAPP law in a friend-of-the-court filing.
was filed in the case of Dugas v. Robbins, Case No. BACV2008-491, pending
in Massachusetts Superior Court in
Anti-SLAPP laws protect citizens engaged in "petitioning" activities
by prohibiting "Strategic Lawsuits Against Public
Participation." As the amici
note in their brief, "[t]he point of a SLAPP is to intimidate and silence
the target through the threat of an expensive lawsuit." A party
faced with a SLAPP suit in
Amici explain in their brief that a decision to deny the anti-SLAPP
law's protections to members of the news media or bloggers would chill their
important efforts to inform citizens about issues before the government.
The brief, which does not take a position on the ultimate merits of plaintiffs'
claims or defendant's motion, notes the various ways in which both the news
media and bloggers can have the kinds of interests that are meant to be
protected by the anti-SLAPP law. A
hearing in the case is scheduled to take place in
CMLP and its fellow amici were represented on the brief by